Despite restrictions, thousands take part in funeral of slain militant in Lolab
Baramulla: The killing of two local militants on Thursday afternoon, followed by bullet injuries to a civilian in the evening, ratcheted up tension across Kupwara district on Friday. While people shut down shops and offices and public transport went off the roads, the government authorities ordered closure of all schools and colleges, including in sub-district Handwara, and snapped mobile internet services. Government forces including army, police and paramilitary CRPF were deployed in strength on main roads and people were not allowed to travel towards Lolab valley, where the civilian was injured in firing by government forces last evening and one of the slain militants had his home.
Local militants Zahoor Ahmad Mir, resident of Kalaroos Kupwara, and Bilal Ahmad Shah, resident of Shotmuqam in Lolab valley, were killed on Thursday afternoon in a brief gunfight by a joint team of army and special operations group (SOG) of police. The police claimed to have recovered the service rifle of a police constable that was snatched from him allegedly by these two militants on Tuesday in a nearby area. Police said that along with the constable’s rifle, a magazine and twenty rounds of ammunition were recovered from the possession of the slain militants.
Local sources said that Zahoor was buried late Thursday night near his native village Kalaroos, while Bilal was buried today at about 11am. Despite strict restrictions imposed by government forces, thousands of people arrived in Shotmuqam in Lolab to participate in Bilal’s funeral prayers.
Late on Thursday evening, when police handed over the body of Bilal to his family, several people rushed forward to pick up his body and then they marched towards Shotmuqam. On the way, soldiers from a nearby army camp allegedly opened fire at them. A middle-aged civilian, Mohammad Jamal Tantray, was hit by two bullets. He was later taken to hospital.
A senior police officer said that the situation across the district remained peaceful today and no report of any untoward incident was received.
On Thursday evening, the district administration announced closure of all schools and colleges in Kupwara district to maintain law and order. The authorities also blocked 3G and 4G mobile internet services across the district soon after the two local militants were killed in the afternoon.